4 Copas (formerly entitled Diana) is the only Portuguese title in a competition packed with European films (see news) and stars some of the country’s most renowned faces: young Rita Martins, João Lagarte (The Crime of Father Amaro [trailer]), Margarida Marinho (known to audiences above all for her soap opera roles) and Filipe Duarte (A Outra margem [trailer]).
Duarte also plays a small role in another film in Estoril, screening out of competition: Werner Schroeter’s This Night (in competition at this year’s Venice fest), a French/German/Portuguese co-production that will have its local premiere tomorrow evening.
4 Copas is a film about love and intergenerational relationships that centres on Diana, a sweet, bright young woman who lives in Lisbon with her father Gabriel and his second wife Madalena. Her peaceful life is turned upside down the day Diana discovers her stepmother is having an affair with Miguel, the charming security guard who works in the shopping mall in which the two women work.
Diana attempts to no avail to bring Gabriel and Madalena back together but her father leaves home. She then adopts another strategy to put an end to the affair – seducing Miguel.
The title refers to a card game and Madalena’s weakness for gambling, which heightens as her relationship with Miguel falls apart, when she moves from bingo parlours to smoky dives full of unscrupulous people.
There are four main characters, four hearts that love, suffer, lie and hope, and four generations in the film, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Playing games is also a constant: for Madalena it is a drug, for Gabriel pleasure and for Miguel a pastime, while for Diana, who is forced to shed her innocence and naivety, a path to a goal.
Elisa Cimino Cineuropa.org